By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
This is where Stanford's baseball season ended last year, although so much more was expected this time around. Even though it ended in disappointment, the Cardinal cannot look upon this season as a failure.
What will be remembered is Sunday's 18-7 setback to host Florida State, ending Stanford's season and sending the third-seeded Seminoles to the College World Series, where they will seek their first national title in their 21st trip.
But what to make of the Cardinal? Missing out on a chance at its first official visit to Omaha in four years may seem disastrous, but that would be missing out on a 41-win season that produced several notable achievements, including Mark Appel's 10-win year that led him to be selected in the first round of Major League League's First-Year Player Draft.
If there was a Hall of Fame for agents, Scott Boras (Appel's advisor) would be the first inductee. He's the toughest negotiator and works to get top dollar for his clients. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted him, have indicated they are ready to deal.
Appel may have gotten off to a bad start when he canceled a teleconference on draft day and issued a statement that did not mention the Pirates by name. Then he got belted around by the Seminoles in Friday's opener.
Stephen Piscotty was was drafted in the first round, by the St. Louis Cardinals. Piscotty finished the year with a four-hit performance against Florida State. Sophomore Austin Wilson had three hits, including a double and his team-leading 10th home run, and drove in three runs. The local trio of Palo Alto resident Alex Blandino and Menlo School grads Kenny Diekroeger and Danny Diekroeger had two hits each.
Stanford most likely will have to replace its entire weekend pitching rotation. Brett Mooneyham was also drafted. The pitching staff is not entirely depleted, as A.J. Vanegas, Josh Hochstatter and Dean McArdle are among the candidates to fill those shoes.
Stanford staked Florida State to six runs over the first two innings on Sunday and never recovered as some impressive Cardinal streaks ended. Piscotty started all 172 games in his Stanford career. Jake Stewart, a ninth-round pick of the Tigers, ended his junior season on a 12-game hit streak.
"Two swings of the bat . . . five runs," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "We couldn't contain them."
The Cardinal had 18 hits Sunday, but stranded 12 runners.
Piscotty had four hits for Stanford, but he hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the seventh.
"I would have traded all four of those hits for that at-bat," he said. "It's tough."
Mooneyham (7-6) could not get an out in the second, facing eight batters and allowing five runs on three hits. A two-run homer by Jayce Boyd in the first was followed by a three-run homer by Sherman Johnson off Vanegas in the second to make it 6-0.
Stanford left five runners in scoring position over the first five innings, managing just one run in the third and another run in the fifth. Florida State pitchers benefited from three double plays.
"They made some really great defensive plays," Marquess said. "We hit into more double plays in these two days then we have in 30 games."
Appel finished his career 10-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012 and 18-10 with a 3.22 over 57 career games. Mooneyham finished his career 16-16 with a 4.70 ERA over 45 games, including a 7-6 record and 4.75 ERA this year.
Kenny Diekroeger finished his junior season with 170 career games and a .308 career average with 105 runs and 103 RBI. Stewart played in 148 games with a .265 career mark, 96 runs and 62 RBI. Piscotty had a .340 career average with 124 runs and 132 RBI.
Stanford had five four-year players on its squad (Christian Griffiths, Mooneyham, Brian Busick, Elliott Byers, Talt) and had seven players drafted -- Appel (1st), Piscotty (1st), Mooneyham (3rd), Kenny Diekroeger (4th), Stewart (9th), Eric Smith (18th), and Tyler Gaffney (24th).
Starters Alex Blandino (3B), Danny Diekroeger (2B), Brian Ragira (1B) and Austin Wilson (RF) are all underclassmen and will be back. Ragira led the team in batting (.329) and Wilson in homers (10) and runs (56). Piscotty had a team-best 56 RBI.